One of my top priorities in moving to this house was getting an orchard planted. I really wanted to put one in last summer, but I was way too focused on helping out my Sis and Brother-in-law plan the most beautiful wedding ever thrown. So, the orchard was put off...but when we knew that we would be moving to the farm it climbed up to the top of my to-do list. Fruit trees can take at least 4 years to bear fruit, so we had to get those trees in the ground ASAP!
I had searched around at local nurseries and couldn't find any that had all the varieties of trees that I wanted. I was hoping to get semi-mature trees so the wait wouldn't be as long for us to gather up all that goodness. But that was not only proving to be difficult, but also costly. Instead, my membership to the Arbor Day Foundation came in nice and handy. (That's right. I'm a member. HUG A TREE.)
I had so much fun charting out the grid and reading over the order booklet to select the trees I wanted. It's going to be very orchard-esque in that it is a nice squared off grid with 4 trees in each row. It lies in the large "football field" between the two houses and I can't wait for the day when a walk next door includes a meander through blossoming boughs and a delicious snack.
I ordered the trees at the end of March and they arrived in time for us to plant them mid-April. We planned a trip to the farm and though we hoped to get all the trees planted, an irrigation system in place AND cages around each tree for protection, we only managed to get the planting done. Here it is 3 weeks later and we haven't had a chance to go back. Thankfully, the Oklahoma spring has been good to us and they have had plenty of rain to keep them happy.
They were by no means "semi-mature" but they did come a bit bigger than I had anticipated. They arrived on my doorstep in a cardboard box. They had some sticky gooey gel on their roots and as soon as we could get to the farm we put them in water to soak the roots...
Then I got the tape measure and spray paint and started charting out the grid. The area is very sloped and big so it was REALLY hard to make sure that the lines were straight. I am certain that some trees will be off but hopefully it won't drive me (too) crazy. I marked an X where each hole should go...
And then my strong, studly husband got to digging.
He dug a huge 3' circle for each tiny little twig. It was such hard work.
And then I came around and placed the tree in according to the chart and filled in the dirt and watered it.
I've always heard that "Planting a tree is planting hope." It's so true! The entire time I was planting these little seedlings I was full of the hope that these trees will be a sort of refuge for our children someday. I envisioned the boys climbing the limbs to reach an apple, swinging from the branches and chasing each other through the rows. I saw Brad getting frustrated mowing around the trunks and pruning them each spring. I dreamed of Genevieve swinging on a wooden swing and placing cherry blossoms in her hair. And I couldn't wait for the day that I could fill baskets of delicious foods for my family to eat. Canning and baking galore all while gorging ourselves on the bounty of our harvest. I was planting hope for all of these things yet to come.
I consulted the grid frequently...Wanna know what we planted?
Row 1: PEACHES - 2 Belle of Georgia and 2 Elberta
Row 2: PLUMS - 2 Damson and 2 Methley
Row 3: CHERRIES - 2 Black Tartarian and 2 Bing
Row 4: APRICOTS - 2 Moorpark and 2 Early Golden
Row 5: APPLES - 2 Yellow Delicious and 2 Red Johnathans
Row 6: PEARS - 2 Bartlett Pears (Plus 1 apple transplant*)
*4 years ago when Ben was dedicated, his godparents, my b/f/f Lis and Lucas, got him an apple tree to symbolize the fruits of the Spirit. This was the first year it has bore fruit! No way in heck I am leaving it behind!
We also planted 2 Hazelnut trees in the backyard in honor of cousin Hazel and her papa (my Uncle Brad). Then the Arbor Day sent us a free Red Maple that we planted on the other side of the house. (They also sent us 10 free flowering trees that I had to plant in our garden because it was gonna be too long before we got to the farm. I have no idea where I'm gonna plant those yet!)
Once we got everything planted, my very exhausted, albeit excited hubbie filled the mower's trailer full of manure and covered all the trees in the nutrient dense poop.
How awesome is this trailer and mower? THANK YOU Sus and Liz. We promise to use it all the time and think of your daddy EVERY time we do.
He was so tired and happy to have a slick ride...
This is me trying to snag a kiss. I was so happy! We have an orchard y'all!!!!
I already am in love with these baby trees. I cannot wait to watch them grow and care for them. We were able to see them just a week after planting and they ALL had buds on them! It is so exciting!
Here's the after even though it's way hard to see them. They still need cages and I have plans for little signs that say what they are! Yeah!